One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure


One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure

by Amy Lignor


Did you ever wonder or even think about the fact that you could literally be hoarding a treasure inside your own home? Although not believed by many – people mostly assume the knickknacks they have in the attic are nothing but junk passed down – finding a jewel among the rocks does happen a great deal. When “estate sales” are listed in the local newspaper, people flock to them. Why? Because a great deal of the time, items can be found from those previous generations that the sellers have no idea what they are or what the value of the item is, allowing you to land a real treasure for under twenty dollars.

East Coast, antique trunk, antique, treasures, hooked rugs, wooden items, hand-stenciled crates, Weather vanes

As you go up in your attic, or down in the basement to clean, organize, or perhaps even collect things for your own yard sale that you wish to have out on the front lawn, make sure to keep your eye out for things that, normally, you wouldn’t look twice at.


When it comes to houses on the East Coast, hooked rugs can be found draped over many chairs in the living room or buried up in the attic. East Coast is stated because in the early 1800s, those enterprising Yankees created an industry of sewing scraps of fabric into unique “rag” rugs. A process called hand-hooking, which is a rug made using a sailor’s hook to pull scraps through a burlap backing, also came about. And if you can find one of those rugs, which chances are you can if you’re still living in that family home, the value would be in the thousands for that lucky New Englander.


There are wooden items found in the attic that many people overlook all the time. They use them for storage or to organize the space instead of noticing that these items have value all their own. It was in the early 1900s that the soda industry started up. Local drugstores were known to mix and bottle small-batch recipes and deliver them to the surrounding homes in crates that were hand-stenciled. No, not the Coca-Cola giant, but those rare soda brands that no one would even recognize. However, an antique dealer would most definitely recognize those crates, seeing as that the value of some of them exceeds five hundred dollars.


Along the same lines as the crates, another form of storage that can be found tossed in the attic or even out in the garage for the family carpenter to store their nuts and bolts in, is the Mason jar. There are two very sought-after kinds, with the first being the upside-down ball Mason jar that was only created for ten years (1900-1910). If you can find one of these particular containers, you can add a thousand dollars, at least, to your savings account.


The other type of Mason jar to be on the lookout for is the Violet Columbia, which are Mason jars with a purple tint. Oddly enough, when these were manufactured the violet color was a mistake, but in 1905 they became the most popular shade in America. Want a quick $400? Find one of those.


A very valuable item is one that is also overlooked. Weather vanes adorn all types of barns, homes, and outbuildings in locations across the country. To make sure you have that authentic weather vane in the attic, it is important to remember that it would probably have been cut from one piece of iron, and check to make sure that the rusted areas are where they’re supposed to be. If you happen to have that 19th century vane, which is absolutely a possibility, you are talking about a value of anywhere between five to ten thousand dollars.


In addition…check condition. When it comes to a variety of finds that you could come across in that attic of yours, there are those that depend expressly on condition when it comes to value. Take a trunk, for instance. Everything from missing hardware to broken slats to large dents take away from the value of an antique trunk. Although hardware can be replaced, it will not be correct unless they are replaced with the original parts. In addition, if an original key comes along with it, the value increases.


In other words, take another look when you head up the stairs to that attic of yours. There may just be an antique you’ve been completely unaware of just waiting for the spotlight to be placed on it once again. And, let’s face it, finding a small unknown treasure right under your nose is never a bad thing.





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